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4.14  ·  Rating details ·  10,290 Ratings  ·  458 Reviews
Nicholas Pileggi’s vivid, unvarnished, journalistic chronicle of the life of Henry Hill—the working-class Brooklyn kid who knew from age twelve that “to be a wiseguy was to own the world,” who grew up to live the highs and lows of the mafia gangster’s life—has been hailed as “the best book ever written on organized crime” (Cosmopolitan).

This is the true-crime bestseller th
ebook, The 25th Anniversary Edition, 304 pages
Published September 27th 2011 by Simon Schuster (first published 1985)
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I first read this when it came out in the mid 80s. I was 70 or 80 pages into it when Henry Hill first mentioned his niteclub on Queens Boulevard,The Suite. At that point I realized I had worked in Henry's club as a musician in the early 1970s. I remembered Henry (never knew his last name) standing at the end of the bar most nights watching the action and hanging out with his friends. Of course at that point the book grabbed my total interest and I finished it in a few hours. It's arguably the gr ...more
Aug 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Funny like I'm a clown?
C.C. Cole
Apr 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Wiseguy” tells the story of the life of career criminal Henry Hill, well known in the film “Goodfellas,” which is based upon this book. As with many books that go to films, the inner details add depth to Hill’s story and give the reader a better feel for the disturbing and violent life he lead. With the romanticism of film removed, the facts are told mostly from Henry and his wife at the time, Karen. What I liked most about “Wiseguy” is the true events, rather than the detailed idealistic ficti ...more
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nicholas Pileggi's non fiction book, 'Wiseguy', is the basis for the film, GoodFellas, directed by Martin Scorsese (1990). It's the true story of Henry Hill, a member of the Lucchese organised crime family in New York. Henry's heyday takes place during the 1960s and 1970s when he works under the protection of mob boss Paul Vario in the Brownsville-East New York section of Brooklyn.

Has there ever been a great disparity between a book and a film adaptation?

This is not to suggest that 'Wiseguy' (ak
Aug 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this could have been a very jarring book had I not seen the movie Goodfellas so many times I practically have it memorized. As with the Godfather book/film, Goodfellas is an extremely faithful representation of Wiseguy.

As many people have pointed out previously, what sets this book apart is the outright bluntness in the delivery. It wastes no time trying to water the cold, hard facts down or romanticize the lifestyle of a mafioso. We're talking about people who would murder their best fr
Sami Choudhury
Jun 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I waited for this book for a long time. Watched my favorite movie "Goodfellas" based on this book several times. So when I got the hard copy of the book, I could not resist myself finishing it at once. It is As good as the movie. But if someone watches the movie, the book is waste of time in my opinion. The movie is a total honest representation of the book. But my case is different. I love to read about Mafia. :)

The book is based on the real life story of a mobster Henry Hill. He used to be a m
Kristin Shafel Omiccioli
A deeper look into the story of Henry Hill and his life and involvement with the New York City Mafia from the 1950s-90s. The beginning of the book is nearly exactly like its film version (Goodfellas, a classic in my opinion), but if you keep going the story takes new turns not shown in the film, with additional schemes and characters. I enjoyed the different perspectives, with narratives from the writer, Karen (Henry's wife), FBI detectives, and mostly Henry himself. If you have an interest in l ...more
Based on evidence given while going into the witness protection program, this is a gritty view of what it is actually like to be a 'Wise Guy' or Mafia thug. I was amazed & repelled by the book. Unlike the Godfather which made a hero out of such men & touted a loyalty & honor throughout the ranks, this book shows the actual setup. How self-interest rules their lives & how little empathy they have.

I didn't like the book or the subject, but it was well written & worth reading.
May 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By: Tj Scott
The book “Wiseguy” is about Henry Hill a member of the Lucchese crime family.The book itself tells a different perspective of the “Mob”. Its seen through the eyes of Nicholas Pileggi the author but told to by Hill himself . It displays an interesting outlook,Mob movies books characters have fascinated the world for so long and its the belief that their is another world more exhilarating and exciting fast paced and the common person is just looking to escape the real world i
Hesamul Haque
Oct 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading this book I am sure going to watch the movie goodfellas(as also it has a high rating on IMDb).
Talking about the biography it was a great ride, I enjoyed reading this book. And I am sure you will too!
Saman Kashi

در صورت تمایل، جهت مشخصات فیلمی که بر اساس این کتاب ساخته شده است؛ میتوانید از لینک زیر استفاده بفرمایید
Henry the rat fink
a real coked up piece of work
just watch the movie.
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the sort of book that makes reading true crime interesting. What I mean is this: while reading about gruesome murders is sometimes chillingly good, and one reads such books just for the shock value, sometimes a book comes along that gives you the big picture. This is such a book.

Henry Hill fell in love with the Mafia way of life as a kid, and he stuck to it until the bitter end - or rather, until he had two choices. Either join the Federal Witness Protection Program, or face the music wi
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Goodfellas (originally titled Wiseguy) is a terrific true crime book that just stops short of romanticizing the life of a gangster. The book is about working class Italian and Irish gangsters in Brooklyn, starting from their early days in the 1950s to their fall in the 70s and 80s, told through the eyes of a foot soldier - Henry Hill and his wife Karen.

Pileggi lays things down for us (like the milieu or an important happening) and then lets Henry and Karen Hill talk us through their lives. The
Oct 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hands down, this is the best book ever written about the mafia. Like Pileggi says in the first few pages, Henry gives one of the most rare views from the inside, because he watched everything and participated in the lifestyle with a sense of detachment, probably because he knew that while he could never be an "official" member, the more he paid attention, the more he could endear himself to the higher-ups of the mafia family he was associated with.

Like most people who read this book, I saw the m
Daiv Shorten
Jun 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you can't get enough of Goodfellas, this book is a perfect way to get all of the details. The most surprising aspect of the book is just how true-to-life Scorsese was in his direction of the movie. I suppose that might have something to do with his collaboration with author Nicholas Pileggi, who he worked with again on Casino. This attention to detail allows the reader to visualize and recall the scenes of Goodfellas as Pileggi provides embellishments to enrich the story for the reader. Norma ...more
May 21, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2011
This is the story of Henry Hill, a close associate of Paul Vario, a capo in the Lucchese crime family in New York City. It impresses not in the criminal achievements of Hill, but rather in the breadth of knowledge which Hill provides of the mafia way of life - what is entailed in living the life of a wiseguy.

Comparisons with the film of the same name are inevitable but I tried to avoid this common pitfall. the film is slick, star studded, well acted and with innovative and highly effective camer
Like so many others, I was drawn to this book because of the movie. I had happened upon some Youtube videos of the star actors, closer to present day, talking about making the movie. Always a fan, I had seen it several time, but Ray Liotta was commenting about the book in the interview and it piqued my curiosity. As amazing as that movie is, the book (of course) is better. Many reviewers comment on how Pileggi removed the romanticized notion that surround the mafia, by giving a colder and very g ...more
Peter Bucaccio
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Response 1
If I had the option, I would be friends with Henry Hill in a heartbeat. He is a young, kind, and easygoing person. Although he is surrounded by violence, he never seemed to give into the peer pressure of his friends. When people around him were thinking of how to whack their friend, Henry was thinking of how to talk them out of it. He seemed to be a genuinely good guy.
Henry was always generous, giving out money like candy, and treated those who gave him respect, with respect. Among It
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read. I, like many, read this after seeing GoodFellas dozens upon dozens of times. I'll start by saying I like the film better, but that's not to downplay how good this book is. Reading it makes me appreciate the film even more.

Part of what I love about the film is that it has that "no way this could be made up" vibe to it. Little touches throughout made it all so believable. This is because the film soaked up countless minute details from the book (which is actually pretty lean at only 2
May 13, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book documents the mobster Henry Hill's story, and was the inspiration for the move Goodfellas. The writing style is very journalistic, and most of the book consists of direct quotes from Henry, with some from his wife Karen. It was interesting to compare and contrast the movie with the book. The book uses real names, (Jimmy Conway in the movie is the really James Burke, etc.), and is entirely Henry's story without being fictionalized. The movie compresses some events, and Tommy DeVito (Joe ...more
Oct 01, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

هذا الكتاب هو قصة واقعية عن هنري هيل عضو عصابة مافيا ايطالية في نيويوك. بناء على هالكتاب مارتن سكورسيزي اخرج الفلم المذهل قودفيلاز.
الكتاب يختلف عن رواية قادفاذر بشكل كبير لكونه اقرب الى مجموعة اقتباسات مباشرة من هنري هيل وزوجته كيرن. ويختلف بشكل اكبر عن قودفيلاز من ناحية التفاصيل والدموية والعنف. مارتن سكورسيزي اثبت عبقريته بأنه حول قصة دموية الى قصة ممتعة مع شخصيات مثل جيمي, تومي وباول فاريو.

هنري هيل عاش كل ثانية من حياته. سرق شاحنات, هرب بضائع, سرق 500 ا
Henry Hill was a criminal, snitch, con artist, drug addict and betrayer of people that were more or less family to him so you have to take a lot of what he says in this book with a grain of salt. If you have seen the movie Goodfellas then this is the book that film was based on. The only difference I noticed between the two was the book goes into how they were running a points shaving/gambling scam with Boston College basketball players. As untrustworthy as Hill is the book itself is a fascinati ...more
This book was amazing. Until recently I never knew there was a book version of "Goodfellas". I always loved the movie, so when I found out there was a book I had to read it.
The book is way better than the movie. So much more detail and you really find out what happens. Nicholas Pileggi did a marvelous job in writing the book. I loved the style he chose to write it in: with descriptions and then first person accounts by Henry, his wife Karen and one time girlfriend, Linda.
A truly wonderful book a
Mike Steven
I enjoyed this but I'm going to say something I rarely or never say - watch the film instead.

The best bits of the book are the interviews with Henry Hill, and most of them appear verbatim as a voice over in the movie. As such, the book adds very little to the enjoyment or detail of the film version.

There are a couple of extra details but, on the whole, it's probably not worth reading as I'd give the film a clear five stars.

(I'm not sure I'm happy with myself for doing a review saying films are b
Ed Scarpo
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is it, the classic that set the benchmark for all mob memoirs to follow. The film version of the book, Goodfellas, was so good, some speculate it killed an entire genre until a guy named David Chase came along.

Still the book raises questions. Did Spider really exist? It seems not.

And who really killed Tommy DeSimone? There's interesting theories about that one.

I wrote a recent story that analyses Goodfellas...
Steffan Haskins
Way Overrated! I truly thought this book would live up to the reviews but obviously whoever has read this and rated it the best mafia book of all time, has not read The Godfather. This was a halfway entertaining novel that was more of an autobiography. The only reason I continued reading was because the reviews were so I'd I thought the book would redeem itself, though it never did. You want a good mafia book, read some Mario Puzo.
Apr 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book blew me away with its realism. Every story here was told by the people who were actually participating in those events. The whole book was written in very interesting manner and it was a joy to read such a nicely written book. Everyone who saw 'Goodfellas' and enjoyed it - should read this book and anyone who is into mafia and crime should also check this book out.
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty similar to Goodfellas basically, there are just a few scenes missing. And Tommy is in it way less. The audio was abridged too, so I'm not sure how much I missed. Good gangster story if you like that sort of thing..
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Nicholas Pileggi is best known for writing the book Wiseguy, which he adapted into the movie Goodfellas, and for writing the book and screenplay Casino. The movie versions of both were co-written and directed by Martin Scorsese. Pileggi also wrote the screenplay for the 1996 film City Hall. He began his career as a journalist and had a profound interest in the Mafia. This is where he developed his ...more
More about Nicholas Pileggi...

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“By birth, certainly, they were not prepared in any way to achieve their desires. They were not the smartest kids in the neighborhood. They were not born the richest. They weren’t even the toughest. In fact, they lacked almost all the necessary talents that might have helped them satisfy the appetites of their dreams, except one—their talent for violence.” 1 likes
“Henry was never able to help McDonald crack Lufthansa—the” 0 likes
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